There’s a Satanic Temple of Minnesota?


I guess there is.

I’m always torn by these things. They aren’t a problem, and they promote good humanist values, and they say the right things … but can’t we all do those things without hauling around a lot of useless Christian/Pagan baggage? I guess I’ll just give them a thumbs up while never ever being at all tempted to join.

Comments

  1. Stuart Smith says

    They really can’t do what they do without the religious trappings. The whole point of the satanic temple is that they take advantage of laws that give special accommodations to the religious. Any law suit that favors Christians on freedom of religion grounds becomes precedent for them to use in the future. If they dropped the mystical and religious elements, they would just be another advocacy group. They would get less attention in the media and less traction in the courts.

  2. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    And perhaps the saddest irony–none of the Xtians will get that Satanists are more moral than they are.

    Xtians don’t get the joke. They are the joke.

  3. christoph says

    We have a Satanic Temple in Salem MA as well, I wonder if they’re affiliated? I’m on their mailing list, they promote the same values as the Satanists in Minnesota. Personally, I think Satan got a bad rap.

  4. garnetstar says

    To both @1 and @2: I agree with you wholly.
    And, I’ve always had a sneaking suspicion that these people aren’t a religious group, but rather, performance artists. Their lawsuits and protests and “religious” demonstrations seemed to be a form of activism, mostly bent on, as was said, showing the inherent nonsense of legislation on the basis of religion and showing how ridiculous religious (i.e., Christian) privilege in this country is. Reductio ad absurdum, trying to get to the point where Christians will be revolted by Satanists having these legal privileges that the laws will change. Like the RW legislators who were determined to abolish all marriage in their states so that they didn’t have to perform gay marriages.

    Clever, if so.

  5. F.O. says

    Humans need their esthetics, their symbols and stories.
    Whatever works for them.

    And indeed, as Stuart Smith at #1 mentions, they couldn’t do what they do without the religious trappings.

  6. blf says

    @1, @2, and @4: I concur, they seem similar to the Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSM) — which was explicitly started “by Bobby Henderson in 2005 to protest the Kansas State Board of Education decision to permit teaching intelligent design as an alternative to evolution in public school science classes” (Ye Pffft! of All Knowledge): “[S]ince the intelligent design movement uses ambiguous references to a designer, any conceivable entity may fulfill that role, including a Flying Spaghetti Monster.”

    From said Pffft!: “The Satanic Temple does not believe in a supernatural Satan. The Temple uses the literary Satan as a metaphor to promote pragmatic skepticism, rational reciprocity, personal autonomy, and curiosity. Satan is thus used as a symbol representing ‘the eternal rebel’ against arbitrary authority and social norms.”,

  7. Artor says

    The Satanic Temple are atheists who professionally troll Xians. Satan is a symbol for them, not something they believe in, and it gives them a unique vantage to fight against Xian overreach.

  8. Kagehi says

    @Marcus I would disagree. Its like comedy – you can punch up, or you can punch down. Trolling, and comedy, have a bad habit of purely getting a thrill off of punching down, at people that don’t deserve it, and have no power. But, when either one is directed, and with some level of honesty about what one is doing, at those “in power”…

  9. PaulBC says

    @2

    And perhaps the saddest irony–none of the Xtians will get that Satanists are more moral than they are.

    They’re more compassionate to be sure, but morality seems to be in the eye of the beholder. Evangelicals still love Trump, and I forget where I was reading this, but many consider his policies “the most Christian of any recent president.” They are clearly not using this term in reference to charity or any virtues I would associate with Christianity, but again, a religion ultimately has to be defined by what its adherents claim to believe.

  10. woozy says

    Oh dear.

    The way I see the Satanic Temple is the point out the religious hypocrisy but putting on the ironic trappings of what is most vile to christians but pointing out it isn’t and is humane. And I usually love them for it.

    But without irony they have no purpose or influence. An organization committed to irony being sincere just leaves a bad taste in one’s mouth.

    I mean no-one actually hails Satan.

    I see it as “trolling for good” – which is problematic because it’s still trolling.

    I wouldn’t call it “trolling”. Trolling is to provoke for no purpose other than to get a reaction. Their purpose is to provoke thought and expose hypocrisy and bias.

  11. woozy says

    Hmmm…. somehow in my above comment I completely omitted stating that I find this sincere statement from ST fails.

    It fails in that it is devoid of irony. If the mere name of your organization provokes, then any sincerity will work against you.

  12. PaulBC says

    BTW, the GOP under the Trump/McConnell junta has fully internalized the principle

    “Do what thou wilt” shall be the whole of the Law.

    I realize that is Thelema and not strictly Satanism but they really ought to give credit where credit is due.

  13. anchor says

    Lucifer etymology:

    Old English, from Latin, ‘light-bringing, morning star’, from lux, luc- ‘light’ + -fer ‘bearing’. Lucifer (sense 1) is by association with the ‘son of the morning’ (Isa. 14:12), believed by Christian interpreters to be a reference to Satan.
    – Definitions from Oxford Languages

    Christian tradition must obviously therefore have placed its God as presiding over darkness.

  14. anchor says

    Ya know…Eve eating from the Tree of Knowledge against God’s orders was a terrible transgression. Gave the whole of humanity the stigma of sin.

  15. PaulBC says

    Pro-tip if you go searching for a small Baphomet statuette on line, you will be stuck with display ads for days. Long story, but I am still not sure if I have been able to get rid of them.

  16. consciousness razor says

    Trolling is to provoke for no purpose other than to get a reaction. Their purpose is to provoke thought and expose hypocrisy and bias.

    In what sense is that not about getting a reaction?

    Sometimes it looks a lot more like “grift” and less like “trolling.” To use Stuart Smith’s descriptions from #1, am I able to take advantage of “special accommodations to the religious”? No, I’m not. Their approach depends on all of these additional privileges afforded to religious groups, because otherwise they “would just be another advocacy group” which “would get less attention in the media and less traction in the courts” … as if that justifies it. They won’t do much to undermine all of that, because of this conflict of interest they’ve created for themselves.

    The result isn’t that nonreligious individuals or organizations are treated fairly or equally, because they won’t be the ones to receive such benefits in the media, the courts or elsewhere. And if the only way you could qualify as a tax-exempt nonprofit is by putting on religious garb, that sounds to me like you should not be a tax-exempt nonprofit, because that would mean you are only a profit-seeker wearing a silly disguise. Plenty of real nonprofits manage just fine without that bullshit, so what’s supposed to prevent them from doing the same?

  17. René says

    Any of you regulars who seem to know the Satanists well, care to explain the superimposed crosslike T and C on both sides in their logo? What does that stand for?
    My main purpose in life is satisfying my curiosity. Thank you, i.a.

  18. PaulBC says

    On the “trolling” part, I would say: fine, it’s trolling, so what? It’s a pretty clever form of trolling. I find it entertaining, and I think it may do some good. Stephen Colbert and Trevor Noah, for instance, troll for a living (among other elements of their comedy). There is no general prohibition against trolling. An individual moderator has discretion to prohibit trolling in a specific forum. That’s a long way from “Trolling is bad.”

    @1 This strikes me as an attempt at reductio ad absurdum, whether it’s effective or not.

    The whole point of the satanic temple is that they take advantage of laws that give special accommodations to the religious.

    I.e.: @19

    And if the only way you could qualify as a tax-exempt nonprofit is by putting on religious garb, that sounds to me like you should not be a tax-exempt nonprofit

    Right. Therefore principled beneficiaries of religious tax-exempt status (hahahahahahaha) should then conclude that the whole concept of religious exemption is too easily exploited and should be abolished. Or if that doesn’t work, at the very least those who just want exemptions for their own religion may change their minds when they see this exploited by “Satanists” who they oppose (probably to the point of visceral horror in some cases–these are the people who get into a tizzy over Harry Potter).

    I agree that it is an unsustainable means of providing a public service that non-profits already “manage just fine without that bullshit”. The point is political theater. I’m not convinced that it works, but I also don’t see any obvious objection to it.

  19. consciousness razor says

    PaulBC:

    Therefore principled beneficiaries of religious tax-exempt status (hahahahahahaha) should then conclude that the whole concept of religious exemption is too easily exploited and should be abolished.

    This bit of “logic” is a case of garbage-in, garbage-out.

    Or if that doesn’t work, at the very least those who just want exemptions for their own religion may change their minds

    They shouldn’t have the option of possibly changing their minds. They have no right to be in control like this, either morally or according to the constitution. That’s the problem.

    You know what happens in chess, when you don’t make a forcing move and you only have a hope that your opponent will make a decision that benefits you? They don’t have to do that, and in the process you probably made your position worse.

    The point is political theater. I’m not convinced that it works, but I also don’t see any obvious objection to it.

    You don’t think “it’s theater, not the real world, where anything goes and you’re expected to suspend your disbelief” is an obvious objection?

  20. unclefrogy says

    on a related note I enjoy watching the netflix program ‘Lucifer” bases on a comic which plays with the ideas of the christian satan as if a fallen angle were real as well as all the other angles and interact with live humans doing police work. he even sees a shrink because he does not understand why people do what they do. a bunch of actors having fun and not very fundy more catholic lots of absurd funny bits
    uncle frogy

  21. PaulBC says

    @24 @26 Any opinion on the miniseries adaptation of Good Omens? I finally went to the effort of getting library DVDs again after being seriously bored of Netflix, the one premium service I indulged in for the pandemic. The first episode was OK, but I feel this kind of thing has been done a lot already. (Given that it’s 30 years after the novel, that might not be shocking.)

  22. garysturgess says

    @27 It’s good! If you’re a fan of the book, you’ll miss the bikers, but other than that it’s a pretty faithful adaptation. Neil was involved, and he has been quoted as saying that he explicitly argued for scenes he knew that Terry would have wanted.

    If you’re not a fan of the book, then no further spoilers will issue from me other than a heartfelt recommendation.

  23. PaulBC says

    @28 I started reading the book recently. It wasn’t really the sort of thing I was looking for in 1990, though I knew people who were fans of Terry Pratchett. Anyway, I’ll keep watching.

  24. wzrd1 says

    I’ve long countered with, “All lives matter, but in a mass casualty scenario, one always has to triage and given that nearly 60% of law enforcement shootings involve only 13% of the population, that is trivially addressed by a modest maximal effort.
    So, Black Lives Matter!”.
    Any medical professional who argues against that, without providing countering numbers, should lose his or her license.
    Basically, covering via preemptive nukes, all bases.

    Any who want to argue, come to me after you’ve had to handle 200+ casualties in the real world, with only 20 personnel total to actually interact with the injured.
    All, save one survived, the fatality, my sanity. That still awakens me at night. What caused the event? Lightning, infantry under metal covered, steel bleachers.
    Three hospitalized, two admitted, all released after a day, thankfully.
    Laughable, given a man who slipped climbing up into a cargo truck (commonly utilized in the field to transport troops), fell flat on his back and was evacuated with a brain bleed.

    Life is both robust and incredibly fragile, to be guarded and protected always. With the maximal force necessary.
    Yes, that’s a contradiction. Welcome to things military and militarized police. Which is why I loathe militarized police.
    You can’t protect and serve while fucking killing.

  25. PaulBC says

    @31 Baphomet isn’t good enough? And yeah, it is pretty clear that they do not believe in the existence of a literal Baphomet.

  26. PaulBC says

    Don’t evangelicals usually like to say “Atheism is a religion”? (I.e. rather than a logical conclusion reached by observation.) Would they support tax exempt status for atheists?

  27. rietpluim says

    The Satanic Temple’s website describes pretty good who they are and what they do. They are definitely not trolling. The whole point is that their religion is just as much a religion as any other religion, even without the superstition. They are basically humanists and are as passionate about science, reason, and human rights as Christians are about God and the afterlife. They chose Satan as a symbol of opposition to the non-deserved authority of other religions. Given the contents of the Bible, I can only agree.

  28. blf says

    @27, the first episode of Good Omens is the weakest. It gets much better in the remaining five episodes, albeit there is the occasional wobble. The generic problem with it is, perhaps, when David Tennant and Michael Sheen aren’t on screen, it seems like kind-of time-filling until they return. That’s not saying the other actors are poor, the cast is brilliant (particular kudos to Frances McDormand as the voice of a magic sky faerie).

  29. PaulBC says

    @37 Well, I’ll keep up with it. I started to catch up in an online ebook, and I think this kind of humor works better in writing. The opening of episode 1 reminded me way too much of the style from the TV adaptation of Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy nearly 40 years ago. It also took me some time to get used to Frances McDormand as narrator but I that’s probably just a matter of acclimating.

    It also made me wonder about influences the novel probably had that I missed. In the climax to season 2 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Spike reveals that he does not really want a demon apocalypse and his explanation is so much like Crowley’s that it is hard not to conclude Joss Whedon had picked up the idea there.

    On the other hand, I could go back to another British influence, the 1967 Bedazzled with Peter Cook as the devil. That’s a classic and a similar portrayal. So who knows?

    I also wonder how much this kind of religious comedy even matters if you weren’t raised with the Bible. I mean, I get it and all, but to my kids it could just as easily be She-ra.

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